Friday, November 10, 2006

Thinking Realistically About Iraq

J. Peter Pham of the Nelson Institute and Charles Pena of the Coalition for a Realistic Foreign Policy debated the merits of staying in or withdrawing from Iraq--both from a realist perspective--and the impact of Iraq on the war on terror.

(There will be an article in National Interest online summarizing the arguments, and they have already "crossed swords" on the issue in NIo.)

Both made cases based on facts and on prioritizing interests and laying out costs. Several people afterwards commented on how this discourse is almost completely lacking from the political discourse.

The symposium in the current issue of The National Interest on Iraq--featuring Tommy Franks, Stephen Biddle, Peter Charles Choharis, John M. Owen IV, Daniel Pipes, Gary Rosen and Dov S. Zakheim--is now available online as well.

Practical thinking is what is needed. Per one of the comments made, we need to stop hoping for other countries to come in and clean up the mess in Iraq. Did you see how the Chinese diplomat in the room didn't exactly jump up and endorse the idea that maybe China could think about deploying troops? The Europeans? Afghanistan is failing and their hands are full in Lebanon.

Time to wake up to the fact that we are alone in this.
Follow Odom.
I am hoping that Joe Biden's hearings in January, 2007, will feature facts/interests/costs and less politics. He's got the ambition for this, perhaps not the clarity of discourse, but I am hopeful.
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